Author Alexander McCall Smith lends his support..


Earlier this year, Alexander McCall Smith, author of the highly successful book series, The No1 Ladies Detective Agency kindly took time out of his incredibly busy writing schedule to talk to Clemency Burton Hill about his life, inspiration, characters and anything else that may come up in conversation at an event in support of the Pelican Post.

Image courtesy of Chris Watts.

Alexander, is always a fascinating and engaging author to hear in conversation  not only for the colourful and varied characters he brings to life in his books but for his other activities and interests that he supports outside of his writing.

Sadly the Pelican Post team budget did not stretch to a full BBC broadcast film crew to capture this glorious moment but we did manage to pull off our very technical coup and even more miraculously (although admittedly it has taken a while ) upload some footage to share to our supporters and fellow McCall Smith fans.  A big thank you also to Clemency for  hosting a charming afternoon, and for teasing out some wonderful insights into McCall Smiths methodological approach to writing and revelations about the origins of Madame Ramotswe and the No 1  Ladies Detective Agency.  To see and hear more from this interview, please click on the video vodpod image to the right of this blog or go to

We are also thrilled to count Alexander McCall Smith a fan of the Pelican Post.  Indeed Alexander has kept a close interest in the development of the charity from almost the very outset, when he had his to say this about the scheme.

“I think this scheme is wonderful, and I am very keen to support this.  Throughout much of Africa, a book is precious and therefore getting hands on a book is very important to people.  What is also very appealing about the Pelican Post is that I think it is rather nice for children to be able to read stories that they can identify with.”

The scheme may only still be in its infancy, but Alexander’s skill at writing also extends to children’s stories.  In particular one series of adventures about the son of a Park Ranger – Akimbo,  is proving to be a hit with a new fan base of kids in schools throughout Africa;

To date, the Pelican Post through pledges by supporters from all around the globe, have managed to send sets of Akimbo books to schools in Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania…

Image:  Pupil at Dwabor School in Ghana.

And feedback from individual children has also been really inspiring.  One boy wrote in his homework that he found Akimbo and the Elephants “very interesting because of certain aspects portrayed in it.  I was able to learn that the task of wildlife protection is not only meant for grown ups but also for teenagers and youth. Also I learnt about the treasure that we have in our African continent.”

We also managed to prepare a surprise for our esteemed guess and with a bit of magic pokery were able to relay some personal messages to the author from children attending Dwabor School in Ghana.  Click on the link below to see and hear more from what they had to say (or alternative click on the vodpod image – we love reading)….

Image:  Girls at Mvumi School, Tanzania enjoying Akimbo and the Elephants.

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